Go Back
+ servings
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Warm Date Cake with Bourbon Caramel Sauce

This cake, inspired by a traditional English sticky toffee pudding, is one that I make every year around the holidays. Warm, gooey date cake saturated with bourbon butterscotch caramel sauce and topped with creamy vanilla ice cream and of course more butterscotch caramel sauce, for good measure.
Prep Time35 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: English
Servings: 12
Calories: 589kcal


Date Cake

  • 1 lb dried Medjool dates pitted
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 c boiling water
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ c sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 ¼ c all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Bourbon Caramel Sauce

  • ½ c unsalted butter
  • 2 c brown sugar
  • 1 c heavy cream
  • ¼ c bourbon

For Serving

  • 2 pints vanilla ice cream


  • Preheat the oven to 350 and butter a 9x13 inch cake pan.
  • Place the dates and baking soda in a heatproof bowl then cover with the boiling water. Allow to stand, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until dates are tender. Mash the dates with a fork, potato masher, or your hands, until they are mostly dissolved and pulpy. I usually use my (clean) hands, it's messy but effective.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • In a large mixing bowl whisk together the sugar eggs and vanilla until pale and creamy. Then fold in the date mixture followed by the dry ingredients. Mix until well combined.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Bourbon Caramel Sauce

  • In a small saucepan melt the butter and brown sugar. As soon as the sugar dissolves pour in the cream and bourbon, whisk to combine. Bring the sauce to a simmer, then turn off the heat.

To Serve

  • Poke the cake with a skewer, or butter knife 20-30 times all over. Pour half the bourbon caramel sauce over the surface of the cake. Use a spatula or the back of a spoon to spread the sauce evenly across the cake and guide it into the holes. Cut the cake into squares, top with vanilla ice cream and extra bourbon caramel sauce.


Ingredient Notes
  • Dates: Look for soft, squishy dates, some dried dates are very dry and hard, which is fine but you will have to work harder to get them to the right pulpy consistency. 
  • Flour: I have not personally tested this cake with gluten-free flour but I assume a brand like Cup for Cup gluten-free flour would substitute just fine. 
  • Bourbon: You can easily omit the bourbon if you prefer alcohol-free.

FAQs, Tips and Tricks
  • Can I make date cake in advance? Yes, date cake can be made in advance and stored, covered, at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. 
  • Reheating Instructions: To reheat, preheat the oven to 325 F. Cover the cake loosely with foil and bake for 10 minutes. Warm the caramel sauce separately in a small saucepot or in the microwave. 

Cake Pan | Cake Tester | Glass Bowls


Calories: 589kcal | Carbohydrates: 109g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 79mg | Sodium: 517mg | Potassium: 370mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 86g | Vitamin A: 629IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 123mg | Iron: 2mg